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ZHO Senior management has launched a new initiative to hold a series of meetings with its members of care and rehabilitation centers from the “People of Determination” category in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra. This initiative comes to empower the effective communication with such categories and discuss their ideas and proposals, so as to identify their needs and requirements that ensure their empowerment within the community , to maximize the services provided to them and to achieve the vision and mission of the Organization.
Abdulla Abdul ‘Aali Al-Humaidan, Acting Secretary-General, expressed his pride in the generous leadership "entrusting" him and all ZHO officials with this humanitarian mission. He said : “ our wise leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, is very careful of these categories and wishes to do all that is best for them. This is evident in the laws and decrees supporting those categories, which stem from the firm belief in their ability to participate in the process of construction.
He added that ZHO receives an infinite support from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council and HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the Executive Council, regarding all its endeavors, projects and programs for these categories. Actually, they are keen to provide financial support for the projects of the Organization that may ensure the provision of the best possible services in accordance with the best global practices.
The Acting Secretary General stressed that the Board of Directors of the Organization, under the chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Khalid Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, emphasize the importance of focusing on teamwork spirit in all centers and sectors of the Organization to achieve the desired success and excellence on the basis of the Organization’s achievements during the previous phase.
He added that the Organization has achieved excellence in providing its services to the categories under its patronage. We should maintain this excellence and work hard towards achieving new qualitative leapfrogging in this field. He pointed out that the Organization is facing great challenges, as it increased its care and rehabilitation centers and launched its services in new areas. Other challenges include the Organization’s construction of new centers to accommodate larger numbers of people with disabilities, and the opening of new units and divisions, which challenges require the need to make the most of the available capacities and resources, especially the human ones.
The Acting Secretary-General stressed that the new thinking which is being implemented during the current phase at the level of the Organization confirms the pursuit of communication with the service beneficiaries, their parents and community, with the importance of listening to them, explaining and clarifying to them the services provided by the Organization and all matters concerning the disabled categories. In addition to that, the number of awareness and guidance meetings should be increased.
He pointed out that the meetings are very important elements in communicating with the category of “People of Determination” covered by the Organization in the areas of Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra and Al Ain. He stressed that the meetings "constitute a strong incentive for ZHO custodians to assume their responsibilities". We welcome constructive criticism, which contributes to improving the work for the benefit of the “People of Determination” category. We also welcome any inquiries or requests from the students participating in the meetings, in order to achieve satisfaction for all.
During the meetings, which were attended by Abdullah Ismail Al-Kamali, Acting Head of the Special Needs Sector, participants from the “People of Determination” category discussed a number of problems facing them. The students of Hearing Disabilities Department at the Abu Dhabi Center, stated that the kindergarten children from their category do no attend Deaf Department classes and stay at waiting lists. Further, the prescribed curricula are not suitable to their intellectual capacities. Moreover, the enrollment applications of this category students are rejected in public schools after the ninth grade, due to the lack of sign language interpreters. They also complained that Zayed University does not admit students from their category and they lack for teachers helping them during examinations. Finally, they stated that there are no speech trainers at hearing impairment department.
For their part, students of vocational training and rehabilitation workshops called for finding suitable jobs for them within the center after passing the prescribed training and qualifying periods in the workshops. They complained about the low salaries of the apprentices in the workshops and the lack of suitable playgrounds for bowling.
The players of Abu Dhabi Club for Special Needs complained of many issues including the lack of specialized coaches for basketball, football and handball. They complained of the lack of sports equipment, lack of a physical therapist. They complained the assignment of one sport uniform per person each year, shortage of workers inside the club, shortage of both internal and external training camps, lack of nutritional supplements for athletes, lack of transportation for wheelchair students, and the delay in the payment of salaries, which are even low.
The students from the integration department complained about the lack of consideration for the health and therapeutic situation of university students, the difficulty of obtaining the IELTS certificate, the non-provision of “My service card”, the difficulty of obtaining a driving license and the difficulty of reconciling between work and study. They added that the academic curricula are not suitable to the abilities of the visually impaired persons. They also complained the lack of a clear path to their future, in addition to the lack of awareness programs of the rights of “People of Determination” in governmental and private institutions..